The Japanese government’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has announced a massive US$1.1 billion smart grid trial in four cities and towns, according to Nikkei and other online reports.
The reports say that the city of Yokohama, Toyota in Aichi Prefecture, Kitakyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture, and Kansai Science City – including parts of Kyoto, Osaka and Nara Prefectures, have been selected to trial smart grid technology. The four locations were selected from a list of 20 pegged for the program.
The trials will include both households (5,000) and plug-in-hybrid electric vehicles (4,000-5,000), the report said.
“The cost of the field tests will exceed ¥100 billion (approx US$1.08 billion),” Teruhiko Masiko, vice minister of METI, said in the Nikkei report. “Smart grid is the core of our national strategies.”
A subsequent report by Bloomberg cites that Toyota Motor Corp., Panasonic Corp., and Toshiba Corp. have been selected to participate in the trials.
According to the Bloomberg report, the Japanese government has set a target to use 10% of its energy from renewable energy sources by 2020. To achieve that, the estimated cost is some 6.7 trillion yen by 2030. The adoption of smart grids is expected to result in a market worth 3.6 trillion by 2020 and create 400,000 new jobs, the Ministry said.